Matthew Theodros | staff writer
A three-touchdown day from Darius Perrantes and a last-minute field goal from Brian Bruzdewicz helped Duquesne open conference play with a comeback win against Long Island University.
The Sharks had justtied the game at 28 with a 90-yard touchdown run with 3:33 on the clock when quarterback Darius Perrantes engineered a drive that set up the Bruzdewicz game winner.
Despite having been shut out in the quarter, the Dukes were resilient and worked their way to LIU territory. A few passes by Perrantes allowed a clean field goal attempt from 34 yards for Bruzdewicz.
LIU tried to ice him, but with no success, and Bruzdewicz sent the ball straight through. Duquesne shut down LIU’s last-chance lateral attempts on the following kickoff to secure the win.
Bruzdewicz explained his thought process and the cool, calm and collected mentality it took to make a game-winning play like that.
“I’m not really thinking about it honestly,” Bruzdewicz said, “just focused on the next kick and that’s a great mentality to have as a kicker.”
Bruzdewicz was named the Northeast Conference Special Teams Player of the Week and Prime Performer. He finished the game 4-for-4 on PAT attempts, making him a perfect 14-for-14 so far this season
Much like last season’s double overtime affair, this contest between the teams was back and forth from the very beginning.
The Sharks opened the game strong behind a two-play score led by quarterback Michael Coney to receiver Owen Glascoe.
In the ensuing possession, Perrantes led a seven-play, 75-yard drive ending with a 13-yard laser to Teddy Afful in the endzone.
The Dukes defense was not able to get the necessary stops to end the quarter as Howell drove the ball across the field. Glascoe rushed for his second touchdown of the day to give LIU a 14-7 lead going into the second quarter.
The beginning of the second quarter was much of the same as LIU was able to find the endzone once again. Pat Bowen broke out for a 71-yard touchdown to give the home team a 21-7 advantage.
Perrantes drew up two great offensive possessions to bring the Dukes back into the game. Using his movement in the pocket and long-range air attack, he was able to find Afful again for another touchdown score.
With 20 seconds left in the half, Perrantes orchestrated a nine-play, 64-yard possession ending with a 28-yard touchdown to receiver Keshawn Brown. The Dukes entered the locker room at halftime level at 21.
Perrantes’ three touchdown passes, 254 passing yards and 17 completions all led the NEC for the weekend.
Head Coach Jerry Schmitt attributed the comeback to Perrantes’ gradual progression throughout the contest and ability to find receivers in difficult positions.
“He got out in the pocket a few times and made some good throws,” Schmitt said. “I think that got him rolling a bit. He has those guys who can go get the ball no matter where it is.”
DU kept their foot on the gas and continued the offensive output from the second quarter to the third. Freshman running back Edward Robinson concluded an eight-play, 80-yard drive with a 14-yard rushing touchdown for their first lead of the game.
The Sharks were neutralized on a crucial play on their 10-yard line as Duquesne’s Dayvia Gbor intercepted a pass made by Coney.
The Dukes maintained the lead until LIU’s Davon Wells evaded tacklers and broke free for a 90-yard touchdown to tie the game at 28.
Duquesne was able to get a wide variety of production on the offensive end, especially from the running back room.
Robinson, Taj Butts and JaMario Clements all had 10 carries and contributed to the team total of 202 rushing yards.
“You want them to be at the peak of their performance,” Schmitt said. “You get into that second half and having three guys who can be able to do that is a great luxury for us.”
Robinson was named the NEC Rookie of the Week after another stellar running display, following his career-high 96 yards in the previous contest at Coastal Carolina.
“It’s always great to open up the conference with a win,” Schmitt said. “A conference win on the road is just a credit to these guys. I’m just so proud of the staff, the players, they did an awesome job.”
Duquesne returns to action on Saturday for its fourth straight road game, when they travel to face the Delaware Blue Hens.